HEARTH Act reauthorizes McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
Since the lack of affordable housing and housing assistance cause homelessness and because homelessness affects rural, suburban and urban communities, the purpose of the HEARTH Act is to consolidate homeless assistance pro-grams, codify the continuum of care planning process, and establish a goal of ensuring that families who become homeless return to permanent housing with 30 days.
On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. The HEARTH Act amends and reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with substantial changes, including:
- A consolidation of HUD's competitive grant programs;
- The creation of a Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program;
- A change in HUD's definition of homelessness and chronic homelessness;
- A simplified match requirement;
- An increase in prevention resources; and,
- An increase in the emphasis on performance.
HEARTH Act Updates
Homeless Definition Final Rule Published
HUD published the final rule on the definition of homelessness in the Federal Register on December 5, 2011, which integrates the regulation for the definition of "homeless," and the corresponding recordkeeping requirements for the Shelter Plus Care program and the Supportive Housing Program. HUD will incorporate this definition into the Continuum of Care program and the Rural Housing Stability Assistance program. This final rule also establishes the regulation for the definition "developmental disability" and the definition and recordkeeping requirements for "homeless individual with a disability" for the Shelter Plus Care program and the Supportive Housing Program.
The proposed rule was released and provided necessary clarification on terms within the statutory definitions of "homeless," "homeless individual," "homeless person," and "homeless individual with a disability" and contained proposed recordkeeping requirements designed to assist communities appropriately document an individual or family's homeless status in the case file. Through the proposed rule, HUD solicited public comment and suggestions on the proposed clarifications, which HUD then considered when making changes for the final rule. The public comment period closed on June 21, 2010.
On January 17, 2011, HUD published the Notice on Limitation on Use of Funds to Serve Persons Defined as Homeless Under Other Federal Laws, which is only applicable to those recipients whose approved FY2011 applications (new or renewal) proposed to serve families with children and/or unaccompanied youth. This Notice provides guidance to Continuums of Care (CoCs) and recipients of FY 2011 Supportive Housing Program (SHP) and Shelter Plus Care (S+C) program competitive grant funds, on information provided in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) Questions and Answers: A Supplement to the FY2011 CoC Homeless Assistance NOFA and Application.
ESG Interim Rule Published
HUD published the interim rule for the amended Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program along with the corresponding amendments to the Consolidated Plan regulations. The interim rule was published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2011 and became effective on January 4, 2012. The public comment period closed on February 3, 2012.
The interim ESG regulation incorporates the new final definition of homeless.
HMIS Proposed Rule Published
HUD published the proposed rule for HMIS Requirements in the Federal Register on December 9, 2011. The HEARTH Act required HUD to establish standards related to HMIS, including standards related to encryption of the data collected and the rights of persons receiving services under the McKinney-Vento Act. This proposed rule provides for:
- Uniform technical requirements of HMIS;
- Proper collection of data and maintenance of the database; and
- Confidentiality of the information in the database.
The public comment period closed on February 7, 2012.